"Lincoln said, ‘With malice toward none, with charity to all.’ Nowadays they say, ‘Think the way I do, or I’ll bomb the daylights out of you’."
Description: - Lionel Barrymore as Martin Vanderhoff shares his philosophy on the modern world in the motion picture You Can‘t Take It with You (1938).
Martin Vanderhoff is the patriarch of a family of zany eccentrics. He believes the pursuit of happiness and friendship outweighs the pursuit of money and wealth.
"You ought to hear Grandpa on that subject. You know he says most people nowadays are run by fear. Fear of what they eat, fear of what they drink, fear of their jobs, their future, fear of their health. They're scared to save money, and they're scared to spend it. You know what his pet aversion is? The people who commercialize on fear, you know they scare you to death so they can sell you something you don't need." - Alice Sycamore
Grandpa's family consist of his daughter, Penny (Spring Byington), a painter and playwright; her husband Paul Sycamore (Samuel S. HInds) who constructs fireworks in the basement; their daughter, Essie Carmichael (Ann Miller) who loves to dance about the house like a ballerina; Essie's husband Ed (Dub Taylor), who delivers Essie's homemade candies and enjoys playing the xylophone in the living room; and Rheba (Lillian Yarbo), the family's black housekeeper. The only normal one in the family is Paul's daughter, Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) who works as a stenographer at Kirby and Company, a local bank.
Now Alice is in love with her boss, the company vice-president Tony Kirby Jr. (James Stewart) and he loves her, but they have a problem....their families. Tony's father Anthony P. Kirby (Edward Arnold), a ruthless banker and owner of Kirby and Company and his snobbish wife (Mary Forbes) hates that Tony wants to marry beneath his station in life, and Alice, although she loves her family dearly, fears their eccentric views will clash with the stuffy Kirby family. But Alice and Tony are determined to get married and decide their families should meet and so they arrange a dinner party where they can become acquainted.
Anthony P. Kirby Sr. wants to purchase prime piece of property that Martin owns (his house). Kirby Sr. needs his house to complete an important land improvement project, namely establish a government-sanctioned munitions monopoly by buying all the land surrounding a competitor's factory, thereby forcing him (Ramsey) out of business. Grandpa is the missing piece of his puzzle to profitability and the ruthless banker will do whatever he can to get Martin's property and fulfill his project mission. Martin has so far refused to sell even when he is offered a check for $100,000.
|Grandpa Martin:||You're an idiot, Mr. Kirby.|
|Anthony P. Kirby:||What?|
|Grandpa Martin:||A stupid idiot.|
|Anthony P. Kirby:||You can't talk to me like that.|
|Grandpa Martin:||Oh, yes I can. Scum, are we? What makes you think you're such a superior human being? Your money? If you do, you're a dull-witted fool, Mr. Kirby. And a poor one at that. You're poorer than any of these people you call scum, because I'll guarantee at least they've got some friends. While you with your jungle and your long claws, as you call 'em, you'll wind up your miserable existence without anything you can call friend. You may be a high mogul to yourself, Mr. Kirby, but to me you're a failure - failure as a man, failure as a human being, even a failure as a father. When your time comes, I doubt if a single tear will be shed over you. The world will probably cry, "Good riddance." That's a nice prospect, Mr. Kirby. I hope you'll enjoy it. I hope you'll get some comfort out of all this coin you've been sweating over then!|
During the evening, Tony's father suggests that Grandpa Martin's viewpoint on life is wrong, but Grandpa begs to differ and tells the pompous banker, "Well, maybe I am, but I used to be just like you once. Then one morning, when I was going up in the elevator... it struck me I wasn't having any fun. So I came right down and never went back. Yes, sir. That was 35 years ago.ll you something you don't need."
The dinner that was meant to bring the families together has done just the opposite. But then things get even worse, when as the Kirby's are leaving, the police arrive to arrest Ed for
flyers he put in Essie's candy boxes, which advertise Paul's fireworks but which the police mistake for Communist propaganda. Just then the fireworks in the cellar are inadvertently set off, and everyone runs out of the house. To sort out the whole situation, the police arrest everyone on the premises, including Kirby, Sr.
While sitting in jail, Grandpa Martin suggests Kirby. Sr. take his nose out of his ledger book and use it to smell the roses that "Maybe it'll stop you trying to be so desperate about making more money than you can ever use? You can't take it with you, Mr. Kirby. So what good is it? As near as I can see, the only thing you can take with you is the love of your friends."
When Grandpa is brought before the night court judge (Harry Davenport), he dismisses the disturbing the peace charge against Grandpa, but fines him $100 for possession of fireworks. The judge, however, will not dismiss the disturbing the peace charge against the Kirbys unless they explain why they were at the Martin residence. Mrs. Kirby is ashamed to be associated with the Martin family, and so to hide the fact they were dinner guests Grandpa covers for them by saying it involved buying the house.
Alice, who is not ashamed of her Grandpa, tells the judge the truth about why the Kirby's were at their house. She then tells Tony Jr. to forget about ever marrying her. When reporters get wind of the true story, the rush in to the room and disrupt the courtroom.
With her romance ended, Alice runs away to the country and writes home to tell Grandpa that she will never return. Since it was his refusal to sell him home was the cause of all the trouble in the first place, Grandpa, in an effort to make amends and heal the family wounds, agrees to sell his house to Kirby. Soon after they begin to pack their belongings and find an new place to live.
Meanwhile, Kirby Sr. is happy as can be as he moves on with his building project. But things fall apart when his son, Tony tells his father he is quitting the firm and leaving home. In addition, Ramsey (H. B. Warner), the rival munitions manufacturer arrives at the bank, tells the ruthless banker he will die friendless, and moments later dies of a heart attack. The whole situation gives Kirby Sr. pause to think about his whole life and he decides to let Martin keep his home
In the end, Alice returns home, and the Kirbys give their approval for Tony to marry his sweetheart. The movie concludes with Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff saying grace before eating dinner:
"Quiet, please, quiet! Well, sir, here we are again. We've had quite a time of it lately, but it seems that the worst of it is over. Course, the fireworks all blew up, but we can't very well blame that on you. Anyway, everything's turned out fine, as it usually does. Alice is going to marry Tony; Mr. Kirby, who's turned out to be a very good egg, sold us back our house - he'll probably forget all about big deals for a while. Nobody on our block has to move; and, with the right handling, I think we can even thaw out Mrs. Kirby here. We've all got our health; as far as anything else is concerned, we still leave that up to you. Thank you. Bring it on, Rheba!"